Get Out: Eat with a conscience

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I’ll be the first to admit: I could live a little more sustainably.

Sure, drugs I recycle, ambulance grow herbs and shop local. But I don’t hang-dry my laundry and I’m abnormally attached to my car.

There’s a lot more I can do.

But that’s where it gets complicated. What can I do and how can my little actions possibly make a difference?

“We, in Hawaii, really should have the MOST eco-friendly lifestyle considering the resources (sun, wind, rain, ocean) we have and the beauty of our islands,” says Pauline Sato, executive and program director for the Malama Learning Center and my former coworker at The Nature Conservancy. “But many of us have gotten lost ‘needing’ to have things everyone else has and not considering how far it has to travel to get here or where we will put things when we’re done with them. We’re living on islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, thousands of miles from the nearest continent. Everyone who has traveled on a plane or boat out of state should realize that. We’ve lost touch with the aina (land), but it’s not a lost cause.”

Sato is helping to spread this message at the first-ever Eat the Street & Sustainability Fair on Saturday at Kapolei High School. (See below for details.)

This fair combines the food trucks of the Eat the Street food rally with dozens of booths featuring green products and services, local crafts and lomilomi massage. It’s all about food and the environment at this special event, which opportunities for people to learn how they can make better, eco-friendly choices.

Folks can learn how to grow plants, recycle with worms, conserve water, use more energy-efficient appliances, clean without chemicals, and harness the sun’s energy.

And — like every Eat the Street — this fair will have lots of great food, from trucks like Camille’s on WheelsFive-O RibsHawaii’s Fried Musubi, Beyond Burgers, Leonard’s BakerySoul Patrol andSimply Ono, just to name a few.

The goal is to get people motivated to make changes in their lives to improve the world we live in.

And the world needs help.

“Unfortunately, there are many (critical environmental issues), and they all center on the fact that we live on islands,” Sato says. “We have limited land and water resources. We don’t grow enough of our own food. We depend on way too much oil for energy. We have too much waste and few places to put them. Our native species are disappearing. We are overfishing and damaging coral reefs. And climate change will have impacts on just about every aspect of our lives. I’ve probably missed a few, but there are the things that come to mind and worry me.”

Making changes may sound daunting. But Sato says anyone can do the following things — all small, easy changes — to start living a more sustainable life:

• Take a moment to stop and think about one thing you could change tomorrow. It could be as simple as turning off water faucet when you’re brushing your teeth or picking up rubbish whether it’s yours or not
• Drive less, carpool, use mass transit
• Grow a garden
• Keep invasive species from coming to Hawaii or spreading. Don’t get that “wild” pet like a snake or piranha and think you’re cool — because you’re not
• Buy local and shop at farmers’ markets. Things that are grown and made here generally take less resources to get to you and you’d be supporting the local economy
• Open the window and turn off the air conditioning. Let the tradewinds cool you when they’re blowing
• Resist the urge to get more things that use energy because it all adds up
• Compost yard and food waste. You can save money by not needing to buy fertilizer
• Volunteer for or donate to organizations that work to make Hawaii more sustainable

“I hope that every person coming will learn and try at least one new thing that will help them live in a more sustainable way,” Sato says.

And it could all start Saturday!

Eat the Street & Sustainability Fair, 3 to 8 p.m. Saturday, July 14. Kapolei High School, 91-5007 Kapolei Parkway, Kapolei.

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